Paper on political ecology wins Political Ecology Society's (PESO) Eric Wolf Prize, given for substantive and innovative field research
April 4, 2022
Joel Correia (core Center faculty member) and Marcelo Santos Rocha da Silva (MALAS Alum and Correia’s former advisee) have won the Political Ecology Society's (PESO) Eric Wolf Prize for their paper entitled, “A political ecology of jurisdictional REDD+: Investigating social-environmentalism, climate change mitigation, and environmental (in)justice in the Brazilian Amazon.” The Eric Wolf Prize, named after the leading anthropologist who helped chart the field of political ecology, is awarded for the "best article-length paper based in substantive field research that makes an innovative contribution to political ecology." Correia and da Silva were invited to present the paper during a dedicated session at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology. The article is published in The Journal of Political Ecology and available open access on the journal’s website here. The paper abstract is below.
This article contributes to political ecologies of forest-based climate change mitigation strategies by assessing Brazil's first sub-national jurisdictional REDD+ program. Proponents of jurisdictional REDD+ argue that the approach brings more social and environmental benefits than small-scale REDD+ projects and addresses negative socio-economic impacts of deforestation pressures on forest-dependent communities. Our analysis tells a different story. We assess Acre's sub-national jurisdictional (SNJ) program to show that reworking the scale of REDD+ is not only key to its persistence and stabilization but also how implementation politics often further environmental injustice. We draw qualitative field research in the state of Acre into conversation with a critical analysis of SISA and the ISA Carbono program implementation. Our findings illustrate two interwoven points vital to political ecologies of REDD+. First, the social-environmental ambitions of Acre's SNJ REDD+ program were strongly influenced by the political ecologies of popular movements and a history of state-led environmental governance initiatives. Second, Acre's SNJ REDD+ has not met several of its social-environmental goals like the bolstering the rights forest-dependent peoples' rights or equitably distributing program benefits across sectors despite most extensively operating on the lands of forest-dependent communities. Consequently, we argue that Acre's SNJ REDD+ track record has reinforced rather than alleviated injustice against Indigenous peoples and traditional forest extractivist communities.